Legislation meant to protect new homebuyers from getting ripped off has hit another snag as Premier Brian Pallister's government now says the act won't come into effect for another two years or more.
"We want to continue to make sure we get this right," Manitoba Justice Minister Heather Stefanson (Tuxedo) said Tuesday during question period at the Manitoba Legislature.
In 2013, the NDP passed the New Home Warranty Act, which would make warranties mandatory for all new homes sold in Manitoba. An online registry would also be created that would give prospective homeowners a chance to look up builders and warranty coverage before a sale.
The legislation was supposed to be in play as of Jan. 1, 2017, and was supported by the Manitoba Home Builders' Association.
But the Progressive Conservatives announced last November they would delay implementing the act until January 2018. A provincial spokesperson said that delay was to allow for the "completion of hands-on testing and training of the online registry with primary stakeholders, which is a critical component of implementation."
On Tuesday, Stefanson confirmed the province will postpone making the act law until 2020.
Stefanson said her government wants to sit with the act to make sure it comes with adequate protections for new homeowners, as well as respects home builders.
"We do protect new homeowners in our province … but we also have respect for those in the industry," she said.
NDP finance critic James Allum (Fort Garry–Riverview) says the delay could hurt homebuyers.
He said there were 4,300 homes built in Manitoba in the first nine months of 2017. By the time the act is in place in 2020, roughly 12,000 homes will have been built, he said.
"We're on the side of making sure there are proper protections in place for them, and yet this government has delayed not only one year, but now it's going to be three years," Allum said.
Stefanson said if it was so important for the NDP, the previous administration would've passed the act when it was still in power.
"They didn't proclaim the act themselves. Clearly it was not a priority," she said. "We will take no lessons [from the NDP]."
Assuming the act does one day become law, it would be enforced by Manitoba's Consumer Protection Office.